For the next couple of weeks, Wanderlittles is taking a peek at how Christmas is celebrated around the world, either traditionally or by expats living in those countries. British-mum-in-Texas Mel kicks it off today with a peek at some traditions she grew up with in England, and some suggestions for those in London or the area during the holiday.
Christmas in England is a lot like Christmas in America in many ways. However, having lived in Texas now for almost a decade, there are definitely a few things that I miss about the Holidays back home - most of which revolve around Marks and Spencer (quite frankly the best shop in the universe!) It all starts with their Christmas commercial. I’m not quite sure how to put into words how Christmassy it makes me feel, so I’ll let you see for yourselves:
Christmas morning, the kiddos wake up at the crack of dawn and start eagerly going through their stockings! Stocking stuffers are much the same over there as they are here, however, there are 2 things you will always find in an English Christmas stocking - a bag of Chocolate money and a clementine – or, if you are really lucky – a Terry’s Chocolate Orange! These are seriously yummy segments of orange flavored chocolate, the perfect Christmas treat.
Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) is also a holiday in the UK. The family gatherings continue as we attempt to make our way through the vast amount of leftovers from the day before. Turkey pie, turkey salad, turkey curry (Bridget Jones anyone??) or just good old turkey sandwiches.
Finally, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas in England without the Christmas Pantomime. It is a type of musical comedy stage production that begins on Boxing Day and runs for a month or two after Christmas. Pantomimes always have at least one cross dresser, a ton of audience participation and wildly inappropriate jokes that thankfully go completely over the kiddos’ heads. Sounds horrendous?? It really is, but utterly wonderful at the same time. It is British family entertainment at its finest! As a child, I always went to a panto with my cousins and grandparents. In fact, I dreamed of one day becoming the lady who dressed up as Cinderella on stage. Little did I realize that panto actors are usually z-list celebs who can no longer get a job on tv!
- the lights on Oxford Street
- the enormous tree in Trafalgar Square
- the window displays of Selfridges and Hamley’s Toy Shop in the West End.
Happy Holidays Wanderlittles! Safe travels and Merry Christmas to you all!
Any other favorite English Christmas traditions or must-sees?